Play / pause Called Up

Called Up

  • Bill Burberry
  • Interview by: Tod Nicol


War broke out September the 3rd, 1939.

I was 19.

I was studying under another university

as an external student

and I was taking what was called telecoms,

a four-year course

but I learnt to my horror

that I've gotta be called up.

I didn't have less than 18 months to go.

Now, I could have waited to be called up,

but father was in the infantry in the First World War

at the first, second and third battles of the Somme.

That nearly killed him.

It nearly killed everybody

and Passchendaele where he was captured

by the Germans and gassed

which lasted throughout all his life,

a POW for a year

and I thought I'm not going to the bloody army,

sorry, I shouldn't use that language on an interview

and I was determined I wouldn't,

so I was already a radio amateur,

built my own transmitter and all that stuff

when I was at school

and so, I toddled along to the RAF recruiting officers

and said look, I can read Morse,

I wanna be a wireless operator.

Straight in.

So, that was all right.

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